Thursday, 14 July 2016

Little Bittern

I came away from Ham Wall with a list including Little Bittern, four Great White Egrets, Two Glossy Ibis, Green Sandpiper, Brown Hawker, Southern Hawker, Common Darter and Black-tailed Skimmer. Was I happy? No, not really, because the Collared Pratincole, that I had travelled all that way to see, had flown overnight.

The problem with wanting to see the rarer birds but also being twitch averse, is that sometimes you just get the timing wrong. This is the second time this year that I have left it too long and turned up the day after the bird has moved on.

Fortunately this time there was a back up target, that of getting a picture of a Little Bittern.

I had seen one earlier in the year but only for a few seconds. At the time I was sure that it was a Little Bittern but I didn't get a picture and after a few days the doubts start to creep in. Was the bill right? Did I see the white patches on its wings?  It was a life tick for me so I wanted to be sure. As such it had only been greyed in on my list and given a few more weeks, with the doubts continuing to grow, would probably have been removed. So I am trying to think positive and treat this as a life tick and now the journey seems a bit more worthwhile.

No problem with seeing the white patches on the wings this time.

They get some good birds at Ham Wall but it is not a great place for a bird photographer. You are just too far away for a decent shot. Below is one of a pair of Glossy Ibis but it is probably 300 metres away. It doesn't really compare with the one at Pett Level last December that was almost close enough to touch.

I spent most of the day standing around waiting for the Pratincole to put in an appearance so didn't really have time to photograph any other birds. However, there were a few Dragonflies that came within range.

Southern Hawker

Black-tailed Skimmer

Common Blue Damselfly

The most abundant Dragonfly was the Brown Hawker, which is always a difficult one to photograph. I tried a few in flight which all failed and I managed to spook the only one that I found settled.

It was a long way to go but it was worth it for the pictures of the Little Bittern.

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